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Develop a dissemination strategy

 A dissemination strategy is a strategy that safe cities for women programme partners use to ensure that their message reaches the public. When creating a dissemination strategy, programme partners should think about whose awareness they would like to raise and why. The answers to these questions will help determine the most effective way to disseminate information (and what information should be disseminated). For example, if programme partners would like to raise awareness about high rates of sexual harassment against young women, they should disseminate information to young women, and to the men that perpetrate the sexual harassment. This may require research to find out the location of public spaces where young women are frequently harassed. Once this information is obtained, posters could be pasted up or brochures could be handed out in the area.

Create a local women’s safety committee to spread awareness about women’s and girls’ safety across the entire city.

In addition to raising awareness, this type of committee could also advise decision-makers on policy-making and planning at a later date. Possible actors for a local women’s safety committee include representatives from the local government/public servants (including police, transportation, health personnel), women’s organizations, community, youth and faith-based organizations, the business community, labour unions, the media and overall, representatives from the diversity of local citizens/ residents.

Source: Dame, T. and A. Grant. 2002.  Women and Community Safety: A Resource Book for Planning on Safer Communities. Cowichan Women Against Violence Society, Canada: pages 4 – 42. Available in English.

Hold public events.

 Public events provide a great opportunity for raising awareness through the dissemination of information because they are engaging, interesting, and attract many different kinds of people. A public event is any publicly accessible happening where there are activities or entertainment for people to enjoy. If safe cities for women programme partners do not have enough resources to hold their own event, they should consider joining forces with another event on a related topic, such as women’s rights or domestic violence, in order to reach people who may already be interested in women’s safety and community violence issues.

Examples:  

Casa Yela, Talca: ocupación de la calle con la denuncia de violencia intrafamiliar (The Yela Women’s Shelter, Talca, Chile: Occupying the Streets to Condemn Domestic Violence). Casa Yela is a women’s shelter that works in the city of Talca, and has expanded its work to rural areas by supporting efforts to assist temporary workers and peasants to form workers’ unions. The shelter organized a massive march in favour of violence prevention and in order to raise awareness of femicide. What started out as a campaign of taking back the street, occupying the city, and making noise with bells and sirens has now been transformed into a more permanent campaign of organizing public demonstrations and activities for denouncing cases of violence against women.  Source: “Haciendo frente a la violencia de género: intervenciones desde la sociedad civil”, Valdés, X. Ediciones SUR, 65. (2008). Available in Spanish.  

GiRLFeST Hawai'i and GiRLFeST San Francisco Bay Area, Audio Interview with founders of GiRLFeST in Hawai'i and in San Francisco Bay (Prevention Connection: The Violence against Women Prevention Partnership, 2007). California Coalition Against sSxual Assault, USA. In this audio interview, the founders of these two GiRLFeST events talk about their approach to raising awareness about violence against women and girls using different strategies. One major strategy that GiRLFeST organizers use is to combine art with entertainment as a way of reaching the public. Available in English; 17 minutes.  

Centro Mirabal, Coronel: la politización de la violencia de género. (Mirabal Centre in Coronel, Concepción, Chile: the politicisation of gender-based violence).  Centro Mirabal helps women to report the violence that they have experienced and also works to demand violence prevention strategies. The centre organized a training and information workshop on violence prevention. It also held a conference called “Repolitización de la Violencia de Género (Repoliticizing Gender-Based Violence)”. Many women participants used the seminar as a way to discuss strategies for tackling violence as a social and political issue. Additionally, the conference raised awareness about the femicides that have occurred in the region since 2007. To this end, Centro Mirabal also organized a march against femicide that included a candle-lighting ceremony in order to show a public presence. The ceremony was very important, because it raised awareness among women as well as men. Through these activities, Centro Mirabal has succeeded in making gender-based violence more visible. It also established alliances with governmental programmes on policy (Valdés, 2008).

SUR Corporación de Estudios Sociales y Educación. Temas Sociales 65. (2008)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hold a competition.

 A competition, like an event, can be an excellent opportunity to raise awareness among a diversity of people. Safe cities for women programme partners can hold any competition whereby participants compete to represent and/or spread awareness about the safe cities for women concept in an interesting way. This kind of event raises public awareness in two ways. Firstly, it raises awareness among participants who must think about what safe cities for women means to them, and about how they can represent their ideas. Secondly, it raises awareness among those people judging or perceiving what participants create.

Example: Convocatoria de Concurso de Instalaciones Urbanas. (Urban Art Installation Competition), Rosario, Argentina, 2009.

On international women’s day (March 8), the Rosario Municipality Women’s Area and the UNIFEM Regional Programme "Cities without Violence against Women, Safe Cities for all", implemented by the Women and Habitat Network of Latin America, launched an urban art installation competition with the aim of raising awareness on women’s rights to live and enjoy their city, as well as involving people from the community. Local artists were invited to submit proposals for the creation of an artistic installation in an urban space (e.g. pictures, lights, graffiti, stencils, etc.). The winner was awarded $2,500.00 to develop and install their creation, which was showcased in the Parque España (public park) in Rosario from October 2 (World Habitat Day) until November 25 (International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women).  Available in Spanish.

Use the media.

Safe cities for women programme partners can use different kinds of media to spread awareness quickly among large audiences – including television advertisements, news reports, web sites, and radio programmes.  This approach can be informative and entertaining at the same time (World Association for Christian Communication, WACC, no date). Each kind of media reaches a different audience and requires different resources. Programme partners should try to find the media type that best suits the audience their programme is trying to target. For example, if partners are interested in discussing safety issues related to women in their cars, a radio programme interview would be appropriate because many people listen to the radio in their cars. Alternatively, if partners are interested in discussing safety issues related to young women’s safety on public transit, they may want to create a web site geared towards people in their teens and twenties.

Media Tips for Promoting Safe Cities Programming Checklist (2009)

 This list of tips is intended to help safe cities for women programme partners make contact with the press. It provides ideas for generating “newsworthy” events and for communicating issues effectively:

  • Interpreting an old idea in a new way is “news”. If the government adopts a new definition of women’s safety or if a prominent local community group adopts a charter defining what safe cities are for women and girls, these events are noteworthy and should be covered by the press.
  • Talk to women in your organization and community who are interested in safe cities for women and girls. Ask them if they would be willing to be contacted by the media. Then, make a list of these women to pass on to journalists. Reporters can use the list for interviews when they are covering issues of women’s safety in the community.
  • You can contact journalists and editors directly about news stories and events relating to safe cities for women. Call them or email them if there is an area you know of in which women are repeatedly attacked. Tell them about your actions to improve safe cities. Alternatively, give them tips about public services that are not meeting women’s safety needs.
  • Convene an “experts” panel of women to speak at a press conference on a key safety issue that has developed within your community. Issues covered could include a specific attack against a woman or a girl, the creation of public policy that causes insecurity for women and girls, the release of alarming victimization statistics involving women and girls in the community, or other developments that affect the public safety of women and girls. Experts at the panel can include women or girls who have experienced insecurity, law enforcement officers, politicians, medical professionals, service workers, or representatives from community groups. Remember to make sure that everyone on the panel agrees on the definition of safe cities for women and girls beforehand.  A written statement can also be given to the media on behalf of the panel.
  • Create information packets for journalists on issues around the safety of women and girls in cities and communities. These packets can contain definitions of safe cities, statistics about crimes against women, examples of safe cities for women programmes and activities, and copies of public commitments on the safety of women (from governments, national organizations, international conference declarations, etc.). It is important to double-check your information so that it is correct because if you give out false information, your credibility could be damaged. 
  • Spend some time learning about how to work with the media. Take a workshop on the subject or invite a journalist to advise you and other organizers of your safe cities for women programme. Identify if there is media expertise among your network of partners to rely on.
  • Keep the media updated on your programme’s progress. Alternatively, if your programme is not progressing, tell them about it – lack of funding or political support for women’s safety in the community can be a great news story. It will get the community talking about women’s safety and raise awareness.
  • If you are giving out statistics on women’s safety, make sure you explain what they mean. For example, if you are talking about the number of rapes that occurred in public spaces in the past year based on police statistics, say that. Also, say that the actual number of rapes is probably higher because not all women report attacks, in order to put the numbers in context.
  • Practice what you are going to say ahead of time. Make sure you know what your goals are, and how they relate to creating a safer city for women and girls.

Adapted for safe cities programming from “Media Tips for gender and Media Advocacy” in ‘Mission Possible’: A Gender and Media Advocacy Toolkit prepared by the World Association for Christian Communication (WACC). The toolkit is available in two versions. The first is a comprehensive guide to media advocacy in English, French and Spanish. The second is an easy-to-use modular format (Introduction and 11 modules) available in English.

Case Study: Mapeo de Medios de Comunicación de la Ciudad de Rosario
(Mass Media Mapping in Rosario)
In order to identify potential and appropriate media partners on safe cities for women, the Red Informativa de Mujeres Argentina – RIMA (Women's Information Network Argentina)-- was asked to monitor the mass media of Rosario in order to gauge how they covered the news in general, and specifically, violence against women. This included assessing whether the media reproduced gender stereotypes or used non-sexist language.  In this manner, RIMA was able to identify journalists who would be best placed to support awareness-raising about the safe cities programme and related issues. This effort was part of the UNIFEM-supported Safe Cities for Women Regional Programme implemented by Red Mujer y Habitat in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Examples:        

Up Close Podcast: Female-friendly cities: Planning for inclusivity in our urban spaces (2011). This podcast was produced for the University of Melbourne by Jennifer Cook. Using an in-depth interview format, the host interviews Dr. Carolyn Whitzman and Dr. Kalpana Viswanath about urban planning and policy practices related to the creation of safe and gender-inclusive cities. Discussion also centres around the Gender Inclusive Cities Programme, funded by the United Nations Trust Fund to End Violence against Women. The podcast is available for listening or download internationally. English.
Radio Script about Women’s Safety, India (2010). This radio script was developed by Jagori as part of the Gender Inclusive Cities Programme. Jagori partnered with a local radio station in order to develop a series of radio programmes on women’s safety.Hindi.  

"Callejeras, callejeando. Mujeres de ciudades" radio programme, Argentina (2010). This radio series presents information and interesting dialogues on different topics relating to women's safety in cities. A particular focus of the programme is ensuring that women's voices are heard (including women politicians, researchers and activists). Radio programmes one, two, three, four and five are available in Spanish.

Hollaback NYC Blog, New York, USA [http://hollabacknyc.blogspot.com/]. This website provides a public forum for (mostly female) victims of street harassment in New York City. Users contribute verbal and visual postings that document their assaults.  This blog seeks to create communities "where everyone feels comfortable, safe, and respected”. The "larger goal of the program is to support women’s rights to exist in public without fear of harassment, particularly on the street". Objectives include;

  • to raise awareness of street harassment;
  • to give women a voice;
  • to lobby for cultural and legal change; and
  • to provide an alternative to the objectification of women as ‘helpless’. 

Additional resources and information are also posted on the site, including links to self-defence resources, legal resources, and rape support sites. Available in English.

Callejeras, callejeando. Mujeres de ciudades" radio programme, Argentina (2010). This radio series presents information and interesting dialogues on different topics relating to women's safety in cities. A particular focus of the programme is ensuring that women's voices are heard (including women politicians, researchers and activists). Radio programmes one, two, three, four and five are available in Spanish.  

Hollaback NYC Blog, New York, USA [http://hollabacknyc.blogspot.com/]. This website provides a public forum for (mostly female) victims of street harassment in New York City. Users contribute verbal and visual postings that document their assaults.  This blog seeks to create communities "where everyone feels comfortable, safe, and respected”. The "larger goal of the program is to support women’s rights to exist in public without fear of harassment, particularly on the street". Objectives include:

  • to raise awareness of street harassment;
  • to give women a voice;
  • to lobby for cultural and legal change; and
  • to provide an alternative to the objectification of women as ‘helpless’. 

Additional resources and information are also posted on the site, including links to self-defence resources, legal resources, and rape support sites. Available in English.

Stop Street Harassment: Making Public Places Safe and Welcoming for Women, USA.  This blog provides a wide range of information on street harassment, including definitions, statistics, stories andstrategies for reducing its occurrence. Advice is offered on educating men, empowering women, and raising-awareness around the issue.  Available in English

Girl’s Security in Kibera Report from Kibera News Network. Kibera News Network is the first TV news station in Kibera, the largest slum in Kenya. Its online content is produced by local youths. This report deals with girls’ safety in Kibera and discusses the links between sexual harassment, early marriage, and HIV/AIDS. Available in English. 6 minutes, 40 seconds.

Blank Noise “This Place” Project, India The Blank Noise project created a page on the flickr website, so that women and girls can upload pictures on the internet of locations where they have been sexually harassed. Women and girls can also post stories about their experiences being harassed, and can share strategies for dealing with harassment. The tagline that Blank Noise uses to advertise this project is, “Locate. Rephotograph. Send. Map it.”

Staring Hurts, Delhi, India, 2006.  This short, attention-grabbing video depicts a woman in a cafe being stared at by a man. It outlines how, generally, the power relationship between a man staring and a woman being stared at is unequal. Producedby JAGORI. Available in English: 38 seconds.

Spots publicitarios, Campaña "En Bogotá, la violencia contra las mujeres es INACEPTABLE" (Publicity Spots, « In Bogotá, violence against women is UNACCEPTABLE »), Bogotá, Colombia. These television advertisements present statistics on violence against women and showcase images that evoke women’s experiences with violence in Bogotá. Using simple but appealing language, the publicity spots raise awareness about violence against women in cities as well as promote the importance of community involvement. Developed within the framework of the Regional Programme ‘Cities without Violence against Women, Safe Cities for All’, executed by UNIFEM. Spots one, two, three and four are available in Spanish.

Cuidades Seguras… a un año de recorrido (Safe Cities… One Year's Journey), Bogotá, Colombia. This radio interview was produced by different community organizations. The interview was conducted with different stakeholders on their experiences with the implementation of the Regional Programme “Cities without Violence against Women, Safe Cities for All”, executed by UNIFEM.  Its format and accessibility allows it to be reproduced for different mass media. Available in Spanish.

Keep safe cities for women in the news. Whenever safe cities for women programme partners are taking action in their community, they should invite the media to attend. Newspapers, radio and television journalists and internet bloggers can share safe cities for women work with a wider audience—and programme partners can offer press releases, interviews, articles,  editorials and internet blogs. This will raise the public profile of safe cities for women as an important concept. It may also increase interest in the programme, which could lead to new partners and resources.

Make a documentary about safe cities for women.

 If a safe cities for women programme partner has a background in film or video, he or she can create a documentary about issues that contribute to or detract from safe cities for women. Alternatively, programme partners can team up with film or communication students to make a documentary. Subjects could include crime in poor neighbourhoods where women live, inaccessible public transit at night, sexual harassment on the street, or whatever safety issue programme partners feel is important in their city or community. Programme partners could also use this medium to document work being done to make the community safer for women. Once a documentary has been made, it should be submitted to as many outlets as possible, for example, local television stations, film festivals, local governments, NGOs and women’s and feminist organizations, and screenings should be held at schools and other public venues in the community.

 Examples:    

Mulheres - Dialogos sobre Segurança Pública (2009). This film, produced by the federal government of Brazil, depicts a series of interviews with different women on the topic of women's safety in public spaces. The interviews were held between April 25 and June 14, 2009 with 213 women representing different races, ethnicities, religions, professions and sexual orientations. The views of women from Rio de Jainero, São Paulo, Belo Horizonte, Salvador, Recife, Belém and Canoas are included. Portuguese.

Walking Home, 2009, is a short video, produced by Third World Newsreel Workshop in collaboration with Messages in Motion, about young women's experiences of sexual harassment in Brooklyn and Philidelphia. This video combines poetry, cinematography and music to raise awareness about the feelings associated with being a victim of sexual harassment. Available in English; 4:01 minutes.

Más Mujeres en las Calles Sin Miedo ni Violencia (More Women in the Streets without Fear or Violence) Video Documentary, Rosario, Argentina (2007). This video documents the experience of women workers in the West District of Rosario, Argentina, as they work to build safer communities. The women featured in the video identify unsafe places and violence problems in their neighbourhoods. They also propose solutions to these problems. The video was produced within the framework of the UNIFEM Regional Programme “Cities Without Violence against Women, Safe Cities for All”. Available in Spanish; 23 minutes.

La Ciudad Cada Día Más Mía: Las mujeres por una ciudad sin violencia (`The City is More Mine Every Day: Women for a city without violence’), Video, 2007). This video focuses on public awareness about women’s safety in cities. It frames this issue as a social problem that is considered differently in different cities around the world. Available in Spanish; 4 minutes.

War Zone Video Documentary, USA (1998). This documentary by Maggie Hadleigh-West explores how American women feel defensive in public streets because they are attacked by unwelcome leering, comments and/or physical touching by men and boys. This video is filmed in an aggressive style whereby the filmmaker uses her camera to put men on display, thus reversing typical power relationships. Available in English; 76 minutes. Video available for purchase; 5-minute video preview is available free.

Then They Came for My Jeans… Audio Documentary, India (no date). This audio documentary is part of PUKAR's Gender and Space Project. It explores the consequences of dress codes being imposed on university students in India. This example connects the idea of dress codes to the wider concept of women and girls being restricted in their use of public space. Available in English; 12 minutes. Audio documentary available for purchase.